Brainwashing Woody

Well, Woody Allen’s statement is out. As expected, it aims to depict Mia Farrow as a deceitful, manipulative, hate-mongering witch who brainwashed his children. His case, as he frames it, rests largely on the assertion that she is a liar and he tells the truth. To prove that he is not a liar, he cites the fact that he took a lie detector test (though not the one the Connecticut State Police asked him to take). Mia, he says, refused. The implication is that one is a liar and the other is not.

I’ve avoided writing about this case because it’s so terribly sad, and plenty of good stuff has already been written (I recommend this and this). But I’ve been driven to add yet another piece to the flood by something that seems to me to have been overlooked so far, namely, the surprising fact that Mia is constantly accused of brainwashing and Woody is not.

We’ve all watched everyone become an expert on false-memory syndrome overnight—happens all the time! It’s easy to do! Allen’s defenders say. Totally mythic! False epidemic! say Dylan’s supporters. I’m not an expert, so I’m going to leave that alone, though I suggest we make a habit of implanting happier memories into children with traumatic pasts if it’s really that easy. What I do know a little about is polygraphs, and given that Allen resorts to using one to prove his credibility—which is easily disproved using other means—I think it’s worth mentioning that polygraphs are junk science. The American Psychological Association notes that “there is no evidence that any pattern of physiological reactions is unique to deception. An honest person may be nervous when answering truthfully and a dishonest person may be non-anxious.”

I submit that, rather than accept Allen’s own framework for what proves his honesty, we should examine his credibility by looking at his own record.

One last thing about polygraphs: the theory behind polygraph tests is that you get nervous when you’re lying. But if we’ve learned anything from watching this awful case unfold over the past 21 years, it’s that Woody Allen wouldn’t be nervous because he doesn’t believe himself to have done anything wrong—not with Dylan, and (this is where this becomes relevant) not with Soon-Yi. When asked whether he destroyed a family, his response is matter-of-fact. From The Baltimore Sun:

Q: But Soon-Yi is the sister of all those kids.

A: Yes, but it’s not that they’re really sisters.

That’s all right then. Note the narrative Woody tries to propagate here—one far more pernicious than the distortion Dylan’s defenders resort to when they accuse him of incest. (True, he was not Soon-Yi’s legal stepfather.) Woody’s story, which he has doubtless passed on to Soon-Yi, is this was never your real family.

Or this, to Time Magazine:

Q. Did you talk to your analyst about how this would affect a child?

A. It wasn’t so complex. It doesn’t have that quality to it that you think.

Q. What about how it would affect her siblings?

A. These people are a collection of kids, they are not blood sisters or anything.

“These people are a collection of kids,” he says. They’re not a family. They’re not related by blood. (One wonders why he bothered to adopt four times, if blood was the precondition to family.) To hear Allen tell it, his three children and Mia’s other children are a “collection” of people that happened to include Soon-Yi. Yes, that group happened to live in a house he visited every day for the better part of twelve years, but who’s to say—he really said this in that same interview—he might not have met Soon-Yi “at a party or something”? Yes, Mr. Allen, it’s true that in another timeline you might have met your wife as an adult at a party, but you didn’t: you met her when she was nine years old and—this is the important thing— ignored her for a decade.

Soon-Yi and Woody insist that he barely spoke to her the whole time he and Mia dated. This has been offered to excuse Allen from charges of impropriety with Soon-Yi while she was underage, and Allen’s charisma and powers of persuasion have kept many of us from noticing that it’s actually incredibly strange. (Almost as strange as Allen defenders who refute charges of moral incest by repeating that Soon-Yi had a father—as if the existence of a live father made stepfathers and father figures impossible.) It’s hard to imagine a situation in which you ignore your children’s siblings but consider yourself a “model father,” which Allen does. He has some corroboration: Allen’s pal Dick Cavett testified to his good parenting: “He completely rearranged his man-killingly busy life so that he could lavish time and money and attention on the children, probably more than many orthodox parents do. He’d get up at 5 and religiously make it over there seven days a week,” he said.

Ah, but what children?

Here’s how Soon-Yi describes it:

I was never remotely close to Woody. He was someone who was devoted exclusively to his own children and to his work, and we never spent a moment together. We rarely ever spoke, and were polite but uninterested in one another. The fact is I really had no interest in knowing him better, nor he me.

What’s emerging from these descriptions that are intended to defend Allen is an incredibly sad environment, especially for a child like Soon-Yi, who’d only been in the US two years when Woody entered her mother’s (but not her) life. It’s an environment in which the only father figure with a daily presence in the house routinely favored his children over the others and regarded them as a “collection” and not a family. Allen said to Time that he “was not a father to [Mia’s] adopted kids in any sense of the word.” He visited the house daily, he says, but “the last thing I was interested in was the whole parcel of Mia’s children.”

He just wasn’t “interested”. We might ponder the extraordinary narcissism that explanation (and word choice) betrays, but as it happens, I’m not particularly interested in analyzing Allen. My object in writing this is to see what’s on the record—what he has actually said. Given these straightforward admissions of indifference and Judge Wilk’s assessment that Allen favored Dylan but “remained aloof from Ms. Farrow’s other children except for Moses, to whom he was cordial,” it’s rather remarkable that Allen’s camp charged Mia with treating the adopted children differently from the biological ones. (“There was a definite difference in the way she treated the adopted children and her own children, he says, recounting Soon-Yi’s alleged problems with Mia.) It doesn’t seem to have occurred to him that if this behavior hurt Soon-Yi coming from Mia, it might also have hurt her coming from Allen.

But the larger point—the point worth making at a moment when Allen is accusing all and sundry of magical malice—is that the accusation above is unbelievably cynical. He pretends to value an egalitarian ideal in which all siblings are treated equally in order to make Mia look bad, even as he openly withheld his affection from the other children.

It’s a damning record that makes it much easier to imagine how Soon-Yi may have come to fall for him. Ignoring someone—a child—over a period of years spent in her company amounts, given the outcome, to an extreme form of negging. According to the judge’s decision, of all Farrow’s children, Allen “had the least to do with Soon-Yi. ‘She was someone who didn’t like me. I had no interest in her, none whatsoever.’” After they went to a basketball game he started saying hello to Soon-Yi, “which is something I never did in the years prior, but no conversations with her or anything.” This is slightly unclear, but if I’m understanding it correctly, he had never even said hello to Soon-Yi prior to her timid overture.

I hope Soon-Yi has found happiness, and it seems she has, but this is a completely devastating portrait. A painfully quiet, socially awkward girl comes of age with a stepfather figure who never showed any interest in her or acknowledged her presence. Instead, he lavished his attention on her mother and her blond little sister. She develops, and suddenly this man who has been in her house for years but seemed not to see her notices her! Her!

Soon-Yi went to college. Judge Wilk describes her as unhappy there: “she was naïve, socially inexperienced and vulnerable. Mr. Allen testified that she was lonely and unhappy at school, and that she began to speak daily with him by telephone.” And so the grooming progressed.

No, this isn’t child molestation. It is, however, predatory. Did Allen recognize that this might be an incredibly fragile person with a tortured past who came of age in an environment she found hostile thanks in part to the family dynamic he himself created? That in constructing a reality where only he, Mia, and their three children constituted “the family,” he might have made her feel inferior and excluded? That by withholding affection from her throughout her entire childhood and adolescence, he’d created a power differential where she craved some of the validation and love she’d seen him lavish on her mother and sister? That in calling her daily when she most needed emotional support, he muddied that support by making it conditional, sexual?

Who knows? He’s happy, anyway:

The very inequality of me being older and much more accomplished, much more experienced, takes away any real meaningful conflict. So when there’s disagreement, it’s never an adversarial thing. I don’t ever feel that I’m with a hostile or threatening person. It’s got a more paternal feeling to it. I love to do things to make her happy. She loves to do things to make me happy. It just works out great. It was just completely fortuitous. One of the truly lucky things that happened to me in my life.

It is nice to be free of any “real meaningful conflict.” For Allen, the ideal relationship is one in which he is the dominant paternal figure. This militates against his assertion—offered to contradict the fact that they were ever family—that they could have “met at a party or something.” He’s admitting here that his ideal romantic role doesn’t start with equals at a party; he prefers a power dynamic that’s essentially parental.

It’s typical of Allen’s distortions that he accords Soon-Yi full agency—she fell in love with him of her free will!—while insisting that his own children have none; they are brainless, dim-witted vessels for Mia’s revenge. “If Mia did not keep them whipped up and enraged these days, telling them how to react,” he says, “I don’t think they would have cared two seconds.”

It might behoove Mr. Allen to entertain the possibility that children do sometimes have feelings of their own—feelings that were not necessarily “implanted” by evil mothers out to destroy the psyches of the beings they went to extraordinary lengths to nurture. But for the moment, his story is that the children wouldn’t have minded in the least that he cheated on their mother with their sister, secretly, for six months. It’s Mia who’s responsible for their anger.

This is a pattern. The most egregious example is when Ronan (né Satchel) cried as an infant whenever Allen held him: this too, according to Allen, was evidence of Mia’s brainwashing: “Mr. Allen attributes this to Ms. Farrow’s conscious effort to keep him apart from the child,” Judge Wilk writes. (If Mia Farrow can brainwash babies into crying and stopping on command, she needs to write that How-To guide right quick.)

As for Mia herself, Woody claims she “would have thought more or less the same thing if it had been my secretary or an actress.”

These are worrying levels of self-delusion. This is the behavior of a man so unaccustomed to thinking outside his own frame of reference, so amazingly narcissistic, that he genuinely thinks Mia Farrow’s response to finding pornographic photos of the daughter she adopted from Korea and painstakingly raised would have been “more or less the same” as if he’d cheated on her with a secretary. This reasoning only makes sense in a universe where Woody Allen is the only thing that matters. The single emotion he imagines Farrow to be capable of is jealousy. Allen appears unable to imagine that either Mia or her children had a relationship with Soon-Yi that was irreparably damaged. (The other possibility is that he doesn’t genuinely believe any of what he says here–in other words, he’s either dangerously deluded or he’s lying.)

Judge Wilk goes a step further—in his estimation, the divisive force in the home wasn’t Mia, as Allen would have us believe. It was Woody:

Mr. Allen’s response to Dylan’s claim of sexual abuse was an attack upon Ms. Farrow, whose parenting ability and emotional stability he impugned without the support of any significant credible evidence. His trial strategy has been to separate his children from their brothers and sisters; to turn the children against their mother; to divide adopted children from biological children; to incite the family against their household help; and to set household employees against each other. His self-absorption, his lack of judgment and his continuation of his divisive assault, thereby impeding the healing of the injuries that he has already caused, warrant a careful monitoring of his future contact with the children.

So far, the discussion of this mess has revolved around the question of whether or not Dylan’s allegations are true, with most Allen defenders (and Allen himself in his latest) claiming that of course Dylan believes what she’s saying but that doesn’t make it true. Mia Farrow’s veracity has been repeatedly impugned. She’s been called crazy, unstable, out of touch—or a witchy mastermind who implanted memories in her daughter so robust that they’ve lasted two decades. I’ve seen Dylan Farrow called a liar, or crazy, or brainwashed. What I haven’t seen, to my amazement, are what to my mind are the two more likely possibilities:

1) That if there’s a “brainwashed” party here (and I’m not convinced there is, but if we’re all performing thought experiments that strip the Farrow daughters of agency, let’s at least be rigorous and thorough about it), it’s far more likely to have been Soon-Yi, whose “lover” ignored her throughout her childhood, preyed on her as soon as she went off to college, and proceeded to isolate her from her entire support system, and/or

2) that if anyone’s crazy here, or unstable, or out of touch with reality, it’s clearly Allen. He may not even be lying as we understand the term. As George Costanza famously said, “Just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it.”

How is it possible that—given the foregoing levels of self-delusion—we’re applying the logic of the person-who-believes-their-own-lies to Dylan and not to Woody? Everyone keeps talking about the lack of evidence in this case. We’ve been looking at it from the wrong point of view. There is evidence EVERYWHERE. Not that Mia lied, but that Woody did. Over and over.

Let’s count a few lies, some big, some small:

Lie #1: Mia never complained about his parenting

Woody Allen says in his response to Dylan Farrow’s letter that

“I was a 56-year-old man who had never before (or after) been accused of child molestation. I had been going out with Mia for 12 years and never in that time did she ever suggest to me anything resembling misconduct.”

This is factually untrue. Farrow did express concerns about his misconduct, and luckily for her, it’s documented: Dylan’s therapist Dr. Coates testified that Farrow was concerned over Allen’s treatment of Dylan. She raised the issue in 1990 and Dr. Coates worked with Allen to get him to discontinue some of his inappropriate behaviors:

I understood why she was worried, because it [Mr. Allen’s relationship with Dylan] was intense, … I did not see it as sexual, but I saw it as inappropriately intense because it excluded everybody else, and it placed a demand on a child for a kind of acknowledgment that I felt should not be placed on a child.

Lie #2: The Nude Photos Were For Modeling!

Woody Allen has repeatedly said that the famous nude photos of Soon-Yi were taken at her instigation because, he says, she wanted to be a model.

Suppose your extremely young, inexperienced lover—who both you and others in her family describe as so shy, withdrawn and correct that you all thought she might become a nun—told you she wanted to model. You’re in the entertainment industry; you know something about it. Would your response—drawing on your years of wisdom and experience—be to take some Polaroids of her naked with her legs spread wide apart? One wonders about the next step; was Allen going to send those photos out to fashion agencies? Would Soon-Yi paste them on her resume in hopes that Anna Wintour might call? It seems unlikely, but the fact remains that Allen claims he took those photos to further Soon-Yi’s career.

It could be argued that he’s a filmmaker; maybe he doesn’t know how modeling works. Perhaps he did his best with limited information. Unfortunately that doesn’t hold water either: Allen did once hire a professional photographer to take glamor shots of Soon-Yi, so he knew enough and was capable of actually helping her model in an appropriate way.

The truth is probably quite a bit simpler. The full-frontal photos Allen took of his lover’s daughter were likely not about modeling. That Allen said it was, that he insisted that it was her idea and done to help her, suggests he has a habit of making himself seem better than he is. There’s nothing wrong with taking sexy photos of your lover. There is something wrong with pretending that a kinky photo-session of your partner’s daughter posing naked for you—while you kept your involvement secret from your partner of twelve years—was just a helpful act intended to advance the former’s career.

I’m dwelling on this relatively small lie because it’s particularly rich: these little details show how a master manipulator works.

Woody’s story about the photos isn’t even consistent in the space of a single interview. Here’s what he told The Baltimore Sun about the incident:

Q: What about those nude photos? How did you come to take them?

A: We were sitting around in this room, as a matter of fact, talking about her modeling career and she said would I take some nude pictures of her. I’m not a person that knows much about cameras; I mean I’m not good at that. And I, I took a small amount and left them out, and . . . and that was the, um, the origin of . . . I mean, there’s nothing more to say about that.

Q: Some people have characterized them as pornographic.

A: That’s too absurd for words. There are no sexual acts depicted, there’s nobody else in them . . . I mean, I think you know, one man’s lascivious pose is another man’s . . . I would say, you know, they were pretty sexy pictures. But what Soon-Yi and I do in our private moments is nobody’s business; we’re two grown-up people.

I’ve emphasized what seem to me to be problematic statements.

Does pornography demand that sexual acts be depicted? The definition is famously vexed, but one dictionary, for what it’s worth, says pornography is “printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings.” To the extent that they have been described (”a naked woman with her legs spread wide apart”), sexual organs were certainly on display. These are not generally required for a career in modeling. The fact that the judge famously refused to even look at them suggests that the photos err on the side of the erotic over the aesthetic. Most damning of all to Allen’s case, though, is the fact that Allen himself blamed Mia (and called her an unfit parent) for showing her children the pictures he took.

This is what Allen keeps doing: he establishes one set of highly conventional rules for Farrow while he himself is bound by none. It’s a dizzying double standard. Does it make sense to fault Mia for showing her children photographs that innocently depict their sister “modeling”? It doesn’t, unless you’re trying to simultaneously insist on your total innocence (your intentions were pure and helpful—you just did what Soon-Yi asked) and Farrow’s total guilt (she is a harpy bent on destroying you by … showing her children what you did).

I suppose it’s theoretically possible that one of the most famous directors in the world doesn’t know much about cameras and “isn’t good at” taking pictures.

This is a minor point and an irrelevant one; it’s unclear why he even mentioned it. But there might be something behind it: the fact is, it can be useful to seem less capable than you are. Allen is famous for making himself out to be impotent, passive and fearful (he cultivated the legend of his claustrophobia so successfully that Weide used it in his Daily Beast article as an alibi for why he wouldn’t have gone in the attic). He likes to say that Soon-Yi is “more mature” than he is—he is the child, the scatterbrain incapable of being a mastermind or (of course) a predator. He’s so good at it that he almost makes you forget how potent, bold, organized, goal-driven, ambitious, skilled, and egomaniacal you have to be to make it as a world-famous director.

Is it consistent to maintain, in the space of six sentences, that you took nude photos of someone that are intended for public consumption (a career in modeling), and that the content of the photographs is out of bounds because those photos document your “private moments”?

I submit that it isn’t. Those photos were probably taken for purely erotic purposes, and that’s fine (if we’re regarding them as two consenting adults, which is how Allen and Previn say we should regard them, ignoring the attendant context). But again, I’m lingering on this little episode because it demonstrates Allen’s talent for manipulating the truth in order to minimize his own responsibility.

Lie #3: I Was a Great Parent! Mia Says So!

“Be logical,” Woody says in this video when asked whether he indeed molested Dylan, and I suggest we take his advice. His case is that molesting her under the circumstances wouldn’t be rational; it wouldn’t make sense! He says in that same interview (at 4:42) that Mia wrote a “glowing affidavit” in support of his adopting Dylan in December.

That was, in hindsight, an unfortunate misstep. He’s appealing to Mia’s authority—he’s saying that because Mia testified that he was a good parent, he was.

The trouble is that, by December, when Mia wrote that affidavit, Allen was five months into secretly dating mother and daughter simultaneously. Mia, of course, didn’t know. Would she have written that affidavit had she known? Is it logical to claim that Mia’s opinion of his parenting carries any weight given that he admits he was taking extraordinary measures to conceal the truth from her? Mia’s affidavit is worthless precisely because Woody was lying to her about everything—he’s citing a source that he himself rendered useless. And yet—and yet!—when it’s convenient, the man uses the very woman he persistently lied to—but accuses of being a malicious, pathological liar—as a character witness! One can admire this for its astuteness—he’s trying to prove that she had not yet entered Woman Scorned Mode, that she still professed to think he was a good parent—but if she’d known the truth, she’d have condemned his parenting in the strongest possible terms. While we’re on the subject, is it “logical” to apply to adopt a child with your partner of twelve years when you’re conducting a secret affair with her sister? Is that kind? Is that sane? The mind, it reels.

Lie #4: Mia is crazy. Evidence: She still wanted to do our movie.

Woody talks about how unhinged Mia was at 5:40 in the video above, citing as a telling example the fact that she asked about their new movie together after she’d accused him of child molestation. “What happened was crazy behavior … terrible rage. Death threats … she accused me of child molestation on August 4, right? That I molested my daughter, and August 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, the week after, she’s fully saying, ‘When do we begin our new movie?’” I said, “Are you kidding? You’re accusing me of child molestation, and you think we’re going to just go on with the movie?” “This is insane!” Woody says. He marvels at how ludicrous this was, how insane Mia must have been to suggest it.

By this definition, he’s crazy himself, as he admits to the exact same thing in a 2005 interview with Vanity Fair. “The height of compartmentalization was when I was making Mighty Aphrodite, right after. We couldn’t think of an actress to play my wife. I needed someone who was slightly older, like in her 30s, and sophisticated … I said to her, ‘Let’s get Mia.’”

According to Allen, the rest of the conversation went like this:

Taylor: “What are you, nuts?”

Allen: “Why not? She’s perfect for this.”

Taylor: “You must be kidding.”

Allen: “No. You know, it won’t bother me at all. I mean, this is work. One thing has nothing to do with the other.… She’s a very good actress. She’ll be very professional. She’ll know her lines and give a good performance, because she’ll want to. I don’t have to socialize with her. I don’t talk to the cast, usually, anyhow.”

Here’s how he explains the idea:

Now, to me, I want to get the best casting. The fact that Mia and I had been terribly contentious and had a terrible experience—yes, that’s true. But, you know, that doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t play the part. I’m just not the kind of person that thinks, Well, you did a terrible thing to me in my life, and so I’m not working with you. I’m not going to cut off my nose and spite my face. I mean, there’s a line that you draw. I wouldn’t put, you know, Hermann Göring in a part, but short of Nuremberg crimes …

To review—when Allen does it, it’s professionalism, broadmindedness and dedication to his art. When Mia does the exact same thing—plans to honor professional commitments in a movie he’d already cast her in—it’s evidence that she’s mentally unbalanced.

Lie #5: Mia is a Publicity-Hungry Attention Whore; Woody is Private

Allen has always insisted that Farrow is the indecent, publicity-hungry party, and yet Allen, by his own admission—was at least as guilty of using publicity as a weapon:

[Allen] also said Farrow called him five times Friday, wanting to negotiate an end to the publicity.

IANAL, but that doesn’t sound like someone who wants publicity at any price.

“She said, ‘Can we stop this grotesque publicity circus?’ And I said, ‘You have hired a lawyer, you’re parading relatives and the kids on television, you leaked this videotape of Dylan unconscionably.’ She said, ‘Can’t we negotiate this?'” Allen said.

“And I said, ‘First you must clear my name unequivocally. And if you do that, and we can agree to give Dylan some real therapy to get over the dreadful scars of this thing, and I am part supervisor of that therapy, then OK, we can talk and see if there’s a way of toning things down.’ “

Again, the person trying to end the publicity in this scenario is not Woody. He’s the one setting conditions and threatening that if they’re not met, the publicity he so deplores will continue.

Lie #6: He Just Plain Lied, A LOT. (For Mia’s Own Good, Though.)

One of the curious things about the charges of infidelity is that—in the interests of respecting the privacy of consenting adults—we forget how many different “sins” get lumped in. This is a case where the credibility of the people involved matters; the two women, Dylan and Mia, have been constantly scrutinized for inconsistencies in their stories. The fact that Allen cheated appears to have given him a free pass—we think of him as a cheater, not a liar. There’s a seventies sensibility to Allen’s narratives of himself. We’re all adults, he seems to say, and if I fall in love with someone and then out of love, well, that’s life. It’s unfortunate, but it would behoove us all to behave maturely.

There’s an intelligent passivity to this formulation. It’s true, of course: when consenting adults have an honest and open relationship, there’s nothing wrong with ending things in just this way. The trouble is that the passivity Woody insists on here—“the heart wants what it wants”—disguises what he did to get what the heart gets. It obscures the extraordinary dishonesty he was guilty of for at least six months, calling Soon-Yi multiple times a day, poisoning her against her mother, even as he continued to see Mia daily and was ostensibly in a relationship with her. Given how obsessed he’s been with impugning the credibility of his ex-lover and his daughter, we’d do well to remember that Allen himself lied constantly.

But even here, he insists that his lies were acts of charity:

Testifying under sharp cross-examination, Woody Allen said Monday that at one point he told Mia Farrow he had ended his affair with her 22-year-old adopted daughter while he really was “in constant contact” with her “five or six times a day.”

Allen said he used the ruse in an attempt to calm Farrow, who was in a rage over Allen’s relationship with Soon-Yi Farrow Previn, the adopted daughter of Farrow and her former husband, conductor Andre Previn.

The Sunday Herald Sun reported that “Allen also admitted two-timing Soon Yi in a bid to ‘placate’ Farrow. On a couple of occasions, after he started dating Soon Yi, Allen slept with Farrow to ‘calm her down’ because she wouldn’t let him see the children.

At times, the waif-like Farrow had tears streaming down her face as she listened to Allen tell the court they had a ‘joyless, sexless’ relationship for the last five of their 13 years together.”

Lucky Mia, to be so calmed. He was thinking only of her.

We might wonder, since everything else about this case is out in the open, how Allen planned to make this mature, adult transition from one relationship to another? In a 1992 interview with Steve Kroft, Allen seems a little less thoughtful about his romantic partner of twelve years’ needs, let alone her emotional wellbeing.

Steve Kroft: “I mean, she found out about it by finding some rather embarrassing pictures.”

Woody Allen: “Yes.  Correct.  I mean, what is the question?”

Steve Kroft: “I presume that’s not the way you wanted her to find out, or did you want her to find out?”

Woody Allen: “I never—I never really thought that—I never really thought about it.  I mean, I—you know, I don’t know—I don’t really know.  I think eventually as that situation got more and more serious, I would have told her about it.”

You know. Probably.

Woody wants it both ways: he wants to insist that Farrow should have behaved differently, maturely, like an “adult,” while he did everything in his power to keep her in the dark. So accustomed was he to an infantilizing romantic paradigm where he has all the information and power and she needs none, that it didn’t even occur to him to consider how or when she might be told so they could “maturely” part ways.

There’s a lot of irrationality to go round, but most of it is Woody’s. Concerning the allegations that Mia broke a chair and sent a valentine with a knife in it, I don’t know whether they’re true, but I humbly submit that the person who was emotionally blindsided probably deserves a little more leeway for emotional outbursts than the man who for six months abused her trust and calculatingly deceived her.

Lie #7: Mia Poisoned Me Against My Children. Her Children. Those Children.

In that same article, Allen describes how Mia was the one really inflicting psychological pain on her children:

Farrow told “terrible things” about him to the children, he said.

“She said I was the devil. She said, ‘Your father did a terrible thing to Soon-Yi.’ She took a picture off the wall and broke it. The kids did not know what that was about,” Allen said. “There was one horrific incident after another.”

The concept here is that for the children, watching “horrific incidents” like seeing their mother break a picture or a note on the bathroom door was far more confusing than watching their sister leave their home and family to marry their father.

(Actually, Moses Farrow’s statement is similarly odd:

My mother drummed it into me to hate my father for tearing apart the family and sexually molesting my sister,” Moses, 36, tells PEOPLE in the magazine’s new issue. “And I hated him for her for years. I see now that this was a vengeful way to pay him back for falling in love with Soon-Yi.”

It’s a perplexing accusation. Woody did tear apart the family—pretty unambiguously, even without taking into account Dylan’s alleged molestation. Soon-Yi is not part of the family any more. It seems eminently reasonable to dislike the man who tore apart your family. Why would you experience those feelings at one remove, “for her”? It’s hard not to pity Moses, who of course has no way of knowing whether or not his father molested his sister. It may be that this poor family has just lost track of what normal feeling is; Allen’s insistence that all his children’s emotions are tainted by misbegotten loyalties and/or maternal manipulation could easily have that effect.)

Nor does his attitude towards his own children from that relationship seem particularly parental. From a March 2011 interview with the Observer Review:

So do you have any contact with your children with Mia now, then?

“Oh. Contact with those children? No, no. I don’t have contact with those children. I just have contact with my children.”

Those children. Dylan, Moses and Satchel are not “my children.”

Is this attitude consistent with someone who insists that only Mia is to blame? Many have accused Mia of not having a close relationship with Soon-Yi since—if she was a victim—it wasn’t her fault. Has no one remarked that if Allen truly believes Mia to have laundered the brains of his children, then he certainly should consider them his, not “those”?

Can you ever get over something like that?

“No, sure, that was a sad thing.”

Sure.

The brainwashing allegations have gone on for far too long, which is why I’m taking pains to show here that if brains were washed here (and to be clear, I think this is magical thinking), Allen is at least as guilty of it as Farrow. Many people have pointed out that Soon-Yi’s statement of her independence uses language awfully similar to Allen’s, even repeating his extraordinary assertion, verbatim, that Mia would have been just as upset if he’d dated an actress or secretary. Robert Weide’s defense of Allen, that it’s “illogical” for a man to walk into a house full of people that hate him and climb into an attic as a claustrophobe, echoes Allen’s own defense almost word for word. Even Moses’ language for Mia’s “brainwashing” mimics Allen’s. Despite what he’d have you believe, Allen is not without potential mouthpieces.

Our choices are few: we can either accept that everyone in this case—Moses, Dylan, Ronan, Mia, Soon-Yi, and Woody—are of sound mind and able to speak competently, OR we can decide that Mia and Woody are masterminds who use their children and the press as pawns and puppets. What we absolutely cannot do, as a culture, is unthinkingly accept Allen’s premise that only Mia is capable of being manipulative, that only Mia uses powerful magic to make all her children (including Satchel when he was a subverbal infant) hate the other side. What we can’t do as a culture is scrutinize the testimony of a seven-year-old for minor inconsistencies while a rich and powerful man who admits to an organized pattern of lying over a period of six months and routinely contradicts himself—on the record, no less—goes unexamined.

I want to conclude with two statements of Allen’s. The first is from his interview with Michael Parkinson (at 32:40):

There is some mysterious thing—we are programmed—we have certain instincts, and we’ll never understand them, the animal instinct to live, to procreate, the will to power, the desirability of women is just an amazing, amazing thing. When a desirable woman passes, she may be beautiful, she may be intelligent, she may be charming, whatever contribution she’s making… whatever the source of her desirability originates from, you catch onto it and it’s like some catnip or something, it’s just amazing, and you do the most foolish things, you, you know, you commit crimes, you go crazy, you just do anything, you look like a fool …  the men are more frantically berserk with desire. I’m speaking for myself now…

And finally:

I hate when art becomes a religion. I feel the opposite. When you start putting a higher value on works of art than people, you’re forfeiting your humanity. There’s a tendency to feel the artist has special privileges, and that anything’s okay if it’s in the service of art. I tried to get into that in Interiors. I always feel the artist is much too revered—it’s not fair and it’s cruel. It’s a nice but fortuitous gift—like a nice voice or being left-handed. That you can create is a kind of nice accident. It happens to have high value in society, but it’s not as noble an attribute as courage. I find funny and silly the pompous kind of self-important talk about the artist who takes risks. Artistic risks are like show-business risks—laughable. Like casting against type, wow, what danger! Risks are where your life is on the line.

I agree wholeheartedly. And the person with her life on the line in this case is not Allen.

(NB: This post has been slightly edited since it was first published.)

125 thoughts on “Brainwashing Woody

  1. “if brains were washed here (and to be clear, I think this is magical thinking)” It’s not magic, it’s gaslighting. Allen is gaslighting Mia Farrow by accusing her of being the REAL abuser.

    1. Absolutely yes. Allen has gaslighted every woman in this case–Mia, Dylan, and most definitely Soon-Yi. By distorting reality to meet his own definitions and lies, he has destroyed what understanding these women may have had of the situation(s).

      1. This article is absolutely nuts. You aren’t looking at the “facts.” You’re looking at finding holes in Woody’s behaviors. But for all of these “holes” it’s easy to find things to fill them. The fact that the article is so long suggests to me that you are reaching. I think this article is extremely irresponsible. There really are only a few important things to look at. 1) WHY WOULD HE MOLEST HER? Why? It doesn’t make sense. He has no record of this. Didn’t happen before. Didn’t happen after. And Soon-Yi is irrelevant to this. It’s just a sad coincidence that he fell in love with a much younger woman. 2) And how specifically did he molest her? He sucked on her thumb? He blew in her crotch? Where are the details of what he did? Why aren’t these made clear? 3) Young children can come to believe things and have memories of things that never happened. This is fact. But chances are less likely that Woody – as a grown man – is misremembering the situation.

    2. Teeter – you are nuts or a molester yourself.

      Sandusky RAPED boys for how many years? He raped his own adopted son. But no one came forward until the first person did.

      We don’t know if WA has done this with other children – but we do know he has a lot of money and a lot of power so he is able to silence people quickly. Dylan and Mia never wanted money – so he couldn’t have bought them off.

      And before you moan where is the proof like a little kid – manipulators like WA know not to put things in writing that can be used against him in a court of law.

      Why would he do it? Why does anyone rape or molest? Maybe he was as a child; maybe he never moved passed being 19 and having control over a 16 year old wife? I don’t know and I don’t care – he’s an adult with free will and he molested his daughter.

      Sucking a grown man’s thumb; blowing on your daughter’s crotch – that is molestation. If someone did that to you and you grew up to believe it was appropriate behavior I”m sorry.

      1. Sara – you’re a blind fool. Get smart. Get educated.

        “Sandusky RAPED boys for how many years? He raped his own adopted son. But no one came forward until the first person did.”

        This little girl came forward in over 20 years ago. Nobody else came forward then. It was very public. Watch Woody’s 60 minutes interview. Certainly if there were people to be found who he had done this to, they would have been found by 60 minutes or some other reporter. Or law enforcement.

        “We don’t know if WA has done this with other children – but we do know he has a lot of money and a lot of power so he is able to silence people quickly. Dylan and Mia never wanted money – so he couldn’t have bought them off.”

        You don’t know that Mia didn’t want money. And why did they decide to just leave things be 20 years ago? Why didn’t they prosecute? Because they didn’t want to upset Dylan? Wasn’t she already upset and messed up if she had been molested? So instead of upsetting her more, they let a molester roam free? What does that say about Mia? Maybe it says that either he didn’t do anything or what he did wasn’t too much cause for concern.

        “And before you moan where is the proof like a little kid – manipulators like WA know not to put things in writing that can be used against him in a court of law.”

        What? You disgust me. I hope someone accuses you of something one day and even though they have no proof, everyone believes them. Come on. That’s just not how things work. We don’t get to pick sides here. I don’t know if Woody did or didn’t do it. And neither do you (especially since we don’t even know what he is accused of specifically). Think about what you’re saying. You’re saying that since a woman says she molested her then he did. Why do you think this to be true?

        “Why would he do it? Why does anyone rape or molest? Maybe he was as a child; maybe he never moved passed being 19 and having control over a 16 year old wife? I don’t know and I don’t care – he’s an adult with free will and he molested his daughter.”

        People do it because they are sick. That sickness doesn’t just go away. So why didn’t he do it again. And why would he do it when the circumstances were already very bad for him? If he’s such a smart guy, then this just doesn’t make sense. You say “he molested his daughter.” You’re being very small-minded here. And not very compassionate. I feel terribly for Dylan for if she was in fact molested. But I don’t know if she was and neither do you. I met Steve Martin when I was kid and he diddled me. Alert the authorities. Oh wait, maybe I’m lying. Or maybe he smacked my butt and my mom didn’t like that and asked me if he had touched me in other ways. And I said yes. And she said, in what other ways? Did he ever touch your pee pee. And I thought, he kind of did that one time when he was lifting me up. And so on… A six-seven year old is very very young and memory is a tricky thing.

        “Sucking a grown man’s thumb; blowing on your daughter’s crotch – that is molestation.”

        Suck on his thumb is not molestation. What?? Blowing on your daughter’s crotch. Yes – taken literally that is. But who knows what that really means. There are twenty interpretations of that statement.

        “If someone did that to you and you grew up to believe it was appropriate behavior I”m sorry.”

        Thanks for the apology. But you should apologize to the world for not being able to recognize a fact from an opinion and for attacking a man when you don’t know and will never know the truth.

      2. Sara A, you are absolutely correct in everything you said.
        Guys like Teeter could have Molesters in their own families and be oblivious. (-or are molesters themselves.)
        He misses the point that Allen has manipulated and controlled everyone but always appears to be the clueless every-man.
        Maybe it’s just easier to want that Allen is innocent, that because there’s no “hard evidence:, (as there seldom is in legacy child sex-abuse cases,) that somehow that legitimizes Allen’s hyperbole.

      3. You really have some nerve Sara. suggesting someone is a molester or nutz because they have a different point of view? Do you have any idea how truly low and depraved you are for saying that. Not to mention the harm reckless accusations like that do for actual victims. You are irrational and extremely dangerous. You should be ashamed of your self. too bad your not introspective enough to know what i’m saying.

      4. Stepping in (belatedly) to request that from this point onward we avoid ad hominem attacks. Challenge arguments all you like but keep it civil, please. I don’t want to resort to policing comments. Thanks.

      5. Teeter isn’t nuts, he’s probably part of a coordinated internet effort to defend Woody Allen. All over the internet, I’m seeing the exact same talking points that Teeter has brought up, repeatedly, and often with the same phrasing. It starts with the proclamation that those defending Allen are educated in the subject while everyone else is just spouting off with emotions; it continues with the claims that Allen had “no reason” to abuse anyone and that the lack of other claims proves Dylan is lying; it ends with the insistence that Mia was a woman scorned who lost her fame and boyfriend and flew into a psychotic rage, using her children (and judges and investigators) as weapons to hurt poor innocent Woody Allen.

        That it sounds so very much like Allen’s own claims is the creepy part. I’m torn between thinking these are just fans coming from a central (probably fan forum) location, or wondering if it’s actually PR people going around, trying to salvage the Broadway play and potential Oscar.

      6. @That Guy: to be fair, I’ve been around the Internet, repeating myself, also. But if Leslee Dart doesn’t have a PR Crisis firm that handles blog comments in her contact list, then WA is not getting his money’s worth.

        I feel very sorry the cast of B over B, and moderately sorry for Susan Stroman, who was engaging in the prevailing pleasant Let’s Not Talk About It And Wasn’t He Cleared Anyway mindfog that settled over showbiz these past twenty years.

  2. This was a great write-up. I agreed w/ you going in to this article, but you approached the disgusting thing in different modes of analysis. Thanks.

  3. the “modeling defense”—couldn’t it be that Soon-Yi wanted to be a model (in her mind of minds), & wanted the experience with Allen (the photo shoot) to be a trial run, a practice set? It DOES make some sense, especially if this author is going to use it as a main point against Allen (“public consumption” of the photos wasn’t part & parcel of why they agreed to do it, was it?). That said, the modeling didn’t have to be nude, if you’re just “practicing to be a model”, but I guess that was between them.

    1. But then he also said, referring to the pictures, that what he and Soon-yi did in private was no one’s business because they were adults. They’re either modeling pictures (unlikely; for that purpose they should be head shots, not crotch shots) or naked photos of a lover. I think the latter is much more likely.

  4. What else but narcissism and self-absolution are we to expect from the man who directed “Deconstructing Harry” as his way of saying to the world, “Look, I’m a sexual being who craves sex, and that’s all there is to it”?

    1. And what are we to expect from the director of “Manhattan”? (“I’m dating a girl who does homework” – and Woody Allen had the delight of giving a mid-teens Mariel Hemingway her first kiss)

  5. Excellent analysis. One should also take into account Soon-Yi’s personal history. Her biological mother was a prostitute who punished her by repeatedly slamming her head in the doorway with a door. When her mother told her to wait a few minutes, and then abandoned her on the streets, she was somewhere between 5 and 7 years old. She did not speak any language — only gibberish. Mia worked very long and hard to get her out of Korea and adopt her, although a child who for 5 to 7 years was unloved to the extent that she had not learned the language is certainly going to have an attachment disorder. Regardless of her age, when Soon-Yi and Woody started going to basketball games together, Soon-Yi was still in high school and bragged about it to her classmates. Woody clearly has a history of attraction to high school girls, reaching back to his first marriage to a 16 year old, and into his high school aged lover whose story is chronicled in the movie Manhattan. Woody convinced Soon-Yi, who had never been on a date before in her life, that she could be a model. This was the first masculine attention she had ever received in her life. It’s also the last, as even when she was at summer camp after the discovery of the photos, he contacted her repeatedly (not the other way around). Vis-a-vis his behaviors towards Dylan that were “inappropriate,” one of these included asking Dylan to suck his thumb. This request is clearly sexual in the context of his claim that he hired Juliette Lewis to appear in one of his films after he saw the scene in Cape Fear in which Lewis spontaneously sucked on the thumb of the much older rapist who was trying to woo her to get back at her father. Yes, “the wants what the heart wants,” but that hardly excuses any of his behavior. If the “heart” wants to take naked photos of your girlfriend’s virginal, high school-aged daughter, the brain needs to shut that down! If your “heart” wants to have your young daughter suck on your thumb while you think about a sexy scene from a movie you saw, the common sense should kick in and tell you not to adopt this daughter with the woman you’re cuckolding with her own daughter because you’re a danger to all of these girls and women. As far as his “heart” goes, I do not think that word means what he thinks it means.

    1. I think he molested Soon-Yi from the moment he started his relationship with Mia. She was 9 – barely spoke English and disliked her mother – a perfect victim. She can’t rat him out and doesn’t know what is normal or not in her new life. And it doesn’t help that Soon-Yi was also quiet and reserved and resented her mother (the mother who brought her to this place where she can be abused).

      Soon-Yi, older teen, develops stockholm syndrome and then now she’s 40. Who knows if she’s helping or turning a blind-eye to Woody abusing their two adopted children?

      And if Woody never liked Mia’s collection of children, why would he stay there? He’s famous, he has money and he has ADULT women who want to be with him. I think he liked having access to the chaos and small girls.

      Folks will say “oh he’s never done this before”? Sandusky raped for decades and no one came forward. He has money and power – we have no idea if he silenced the other women and because of Mia, Dylan couldn’t be bought.

      1. Everything you said is exactly what I’ve been thinking. Is it a colossal coincidence that Woody “falls” in love with Soon Yi, a girl he’s known for years, suddenly, miraculously at exactly the time she ostensibly becomes the age of consent (in New York, had they lived in Arizona perhaps he would have left the porno pictures on the mantle one year later)? Or is it possible he’s been sexually active with her for a decade and when the danger of being criminally liable passed he got an extra titillation from the heightened danger of carelessness, producing evidence (photos) and even leaving them out for the world to see, sort of like an adrenalin sport.
        In view of Judge Wilke’s decision I find it frightening that they let him adopt two young children, and telling that he chose two young girls – wait till they write a book!
        Here is one more very disturbing glance into his soul:
        .At age 19, Allen married 16-year-old Harlene Rosen.
        Rosen, whom Allen referred to in his standup act as “the Dread Mrs. Allen”, sued him for defamation due to comments at a TV appearance shortly after their divorce. In his act, Allen said that Rosen sued him because of a joke he made in an interview. Rosen had been sexually assaulted outside her apartment and according to Allen, the newspapers reported that she “had been violated”. In the interview, Allen said, “Knowing my ex-wife, it probably wasn’t a moving violation.” In an interview on The Dick Cavett Show, Allen brought up the incident again where he repeated his comments and stated that the sum for which he was sued was “$1 million.
        Years later, after the scandal with Mia, Allen claimed he had remained friends with Rosen, this was news to Rosen.
        I find it particularly interesting that he accuses Mia of making this entire thing public when in fact he has a long history of disrespecting his partners and exploiting them for his comedy, in public. His comments about Rosen’s sexual assault tell me that he finds humor in rape, even rape of a loved one, that’s a special quality.

      2. One other thing, Woody is very lucky (or shrewd) that their primary residence was in New York, had they been registered in Connecticut, Woody Allen could have done up to 20 years for a class B sexual offense for his relationship with Soon Yi:

        The general age of consent in Connecticut is 16. This applies in most relationships. However, if any of the following apply, then the age of consent becomes 18:
        Where one person is a guardian, or responsible for the general supervision, of the other. See C.G.S. § 53a-71(a)(4).
        Where one person is an athletic coach or an intensive instructor (e.g. piano teacher) outside of a school setting, and the other is being coached or instructed. See C.G.S. § 53a-71(9)(B).
        Where one person’s professional, legal, occupational or volunteer status gives him/her a role of supervision, power, or authority, over the other’s participation in a program or activity, and the older person is at least 20-years-old.

    2. I love all those insisting there’s no evidence, the evidence is screaming at us. From his early interpersonal relationships to his professional life where the central theme of his films is always the same and very telling, to his history of deceit, can there be but one conclusion? If Dylan had been a victim of a shooting which she survived, would anyone doubt her word if she were to identify the shooter? Would anyone doubt her word were she Jane Doe accusing John Doe?

    1. Everything he used was Woody’s own words. If you cannot see what Woody did here, then your own bias is so strong, you’re blind.

  6. Chances are both of them are culpable – be very careful about assigning absolute “victim” & “perpetrator” monikers.

  7. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this article. It is a brilliant analysis of his behavior. If people have any questions about it, they need to research psychopaths, narcissists or the DSM’s “Cluster B” pathological personality disorders. So many people still refuse to see his behavior for what it is because he is a master of obfuscation – which of course is the nature of the intelligent pathological person.

    1. Yes, this. I was raised by a narcissist, and until I learned how to recognize the behavior with the help of my psychoanalyst, was constantly surrounding myself with them unwittingly. Now that I know what to look for, it’s impossible not to notice all of the markers in everything Woody says or does. There is so much gaslighting from him, and it’s hard for it not to be a trigger because too many fall for his lies hook line and sinker.

  8. Thanks so much for this very intelligent and clear-sighted analysis. This is the sort of thing it seems impossible to get many Allen fans (and it really does seem to be about fandom more than anything else) to understand. I was an Allen fan once. I didn’t want to believe the allegations initially. It was observing the pattern of Allen’s reactions, and of the things he did that are incontrovertible matters of fact, rather than allegations about which it’s possible to have doubt, that led me to be convinced that he’s almost entirely without conscience, and that his account is the last one that should be accepted on any sort of faith.

  9. Its absolutely astounding to me how almost everyone takes such firm positions when there are so few facts. Seems to me there was a lot of anger on both sides and of course lawyers involved. (and two parents who have both had bizzare relationships) Out of this morass I see person after person take a hard stance on who is the good person and who is the bad. How judgemental we all are, anybody up for watching “The Crucible”?

  10. The thing with this is that while it’s true that the “they weren’t related by blood” thing sounds incredibly insensitive, it actually is a very strange family. Mia Farrow has 15 children, 11 of them adopted. Allen’s explanation about limited contact, and limited parenting of, the 6 children who were not his (Farrow had only 9 at the time they split up) sounds odd, and doesn’t make him look like a sensitive, caring person, but it seems entirely plausible.

  11. “Or Mia and Woody are masterminds who use their children and the press as pawns and puppets.” Actually it seems pretty obvious to me that this is true. They totally do this,if not always very effectively, and not always on purpose. But the fact that they’re both egotistical, selfish people doesn’t really have anything to do with whether or not Allen sexually abused their daughter.

  12. This isn’t anything other than just another justification of the opinion the writer already leans toward. You really shouldn’t be gossiping at all about this family’s obvious problems, you have no facts and a lot of biases.

    1. Here is a fact for you, two people were there that day and one of them is lying.
      Dylan has no history of deceit and no motivation to lie. Allen has a seedy and prolonged history of deceit and a very strong motivation to lie.

  13. Amazingly clear! Rips apart the dizzying haze Allen throws over everyone and when it clears you show us what Allen himself is actually telling us about himself…
    And reading this has left me feeling just as i did as when I read Dylan’s letter.
    It makes me feel sick, as in Truth is sometimes so awful it is sickening! And that is the thing no one wants to feel…so we pretend it is not real…just like the abuse.
    Thanks for this insightful clarity into the madness that is Woody.
    I can’t wait until he goes way forever.
    You are right….it is not Allen’s life on the line!
    Dylan is Brave, so very Brave!

      1. You mean the findings made by social workers, not psychiatrists/psychologists? The findings where all the notes from interviews were destroyed? The findings that were first revealed to Woody Allen, in what would be a violation of HIPPA today? The findings that no one but Woody Allen found to be credible or professional? The ones that failed entirely to persuade the judge?

        Yeah, I’ve read those. They don’t really help Allen’s case.

  14. A brilliant analysis of intimate attrition. To those saying ‘this is biased': do you even recognize the enormous social biases and misogynies Allen has consistently relied upon? Extraordinary work.

    1. Exactly. I couldn’t put a finger on why his pronouncements struck me as selfish and egomaniacal, and the author has pinned him down very astutely.

  15. Mia had offered to drop the abuse case for 5 million dollars… what if Woody had accepted? Would Mia be standing by Dylan now? She was going to use the money for her kids and her own film projects.

    If I were Mia and had a boyfriend who not only had no interest in my kids from a previous marriage, then acted the way Woody did to my toddler, I would drop him like a hot potato regardless of what movie roles he was giving me. Instead, she sends him to a shrink to teach him how to act (as if his problem is bad table manners), then, even though he continues to behave inappropriately and sexually, lets him adopt the girl. She is the ultimate enabler.

    1. The rumor that Mia was offered to drop it for several million dollars emanates from the Allen camp, classic manipulation.
      There is no evidence of this and sayin it don’t make it so.

  16. None of those involved in this ‘case’ are blameless. Documentation made public reveals symptoms of a dysfunctional family unhinged by unorthodox parenting; a couple antagonistic to each other’s involvement with the children, along with years of deception and manipulation. It is a sad, personal, family tragedy, that is none of our business until someone has been proved to have acted illegally. Why do you think it is your business? You exhibit the sort of mentality that in messy times of community conflict causes individuals to be tried and convicted in the streets.

    1. If it’s a personal family tragedy, and none of our business, why are you reading (and commenting) on articles about it? For the same reason the author wrote the piece. Because this family tragedy is already public, and people have opinions and want to dissect the details about it, and maybe god forbid attempt to sort out fact from fiction. Do you feel the same way about Allen’s op-ed piece? Or Dylan Farrow’s article? Didn’t these very public statements kind of invite us to examine the dysfunction?

  17. “how a master manipulator works”, is one of Lili’s condemnations about w.A. , which also applies to her in this piece, as well as to other family members described. She has an ax to grind, against one individual; and that leads her, sarcasm and all, to miss the bigger picture. There are generations of family members in the Farrow, Allen, Soon-Yi lines all functioning according to their own self-absorbed reality, as we all do. Each plays a role following the family scripts. Yet her research reflects a sort of obsession on her part and a vendetta on behalf of the women.

    Making hostile criticism and critiques of just one member gets us nowhere. There are always tense triangles in families, and the challenge for each individual is to remain neutral, calm and open minded in order to negotiate those tensions. Otherwise they go un-addressed and get buried under negative labeling rather than resolved or repeatedly negotiated. Lili does share useful research and quotes but they are sadly meaningless and out of context. If only they could act as a prelude to having all the parties involved address these so called facts with one another in person, face to face. But alas hanging in to have such transparent conversations is the hard part, further undermined by 3rd parties, including individual therapists, attorneys, judges, journalists, bloggers and other narcissists who, in too many instances, can not maintain the equanimity required to have mature conversations with their own family members. We are a society of narcissists as evidenced by the poorly managed triangles in our government and the economic disaster in our society.Of course, I respect the fact that it is not Lili’s responsibility to act as facilitator for any tortured family or sector of society. So I praise her for her role in filling in some of the gaps of this particularly shameful situation.

    BTW, do you suppose that a pre-teenaged Phillipp Seymour Hoffman got frozen in time as his parents split apart and never recovered? Perhaps another example of a family split poorly handled and leading to unresolved grief and the need to numb oneself rather than engage with one’s feelings and with one’s family so as to be able to make peace with one’s past?

  18. This was terribly written and ignores major facts about the case then and the reemergence of the allegations now. What a waste of bandwidth.

    Your amateur psychoanalysis is embarrassing.

    1. I agree. The effort is not totally wasted, but leaves many convenient gaps of reasoning. This is her thesis, and she advocates defends a point of view competently. But, at the end of the of the day (or month) this dissertation leave us no closer to actually “knowing” anything. It’s her analysis, very lawyerly. But the same events and words could be parsed to support a dozen different points of view. This is the writer’s interpretation. That does not equal objective truth.

      1. I disagree. Although the author states her own opinions, WA still said certain things, and in doing so, revealed himself. That is objective truth. Like demoting Mia’s family to just a “collection” of kids. When he says that, he makes it seem like he wasn’t part of a family. More importantly, he makes it seem that Soon Yi wasn’t part of a family, or his family, that he just met her as a stranger at a coffee shop and he was never in a position of undue influence in her life.

        What WA said speaks volumes about what kind of a person he really is. He comes across like a manipulator quite capable of molesting a child who thought of him as a father figure, and then gaslighting anyone who calls him out for doing so.

  19. It’s really funny to see all the mansplaining by Allen’s defenders. “Your article didn’t appeal to my biases, therefore it is badly written and WRONG!” Hilarious, in a deeply sad way.

    1. It’s really funny to see all the womansplaining by Allen’s detractors. “Your article appealed to my biases, therefore it is well written and CORRECT!” Hilarious, in a deeply sad way.

      Isn’t that just the worst form of argument?

      1. This is sooooo not about man or woman-splaining. It’s about liars, manipulators and inconsistent statements by the major figure in this complex story. That’s all. I don’t see anywhere where the author says “And so I’m right, and the defenders are WRONG”.

        The piece uses easily verifiable Allen statements to point out that he has a history of defending himself with inconsistent statements. If someone else wants to take on the task of rebutting these researched observations with statements by Mia, Dylan, Soon-Yi or anyone else mentioned, go for it.

        But to dismiss something so awful (whether you believe the abuse or the accusations are what’s awful) by chalking it up to “That’s how [insert gender here] deal with things” is cheap, distracting, and doesn’t serve any purpose here. Go write a gender studies article if that’s what you really care about.

  20. - It’s probably that I haven’t read widely enough, and also that the focus of the last few weeks of discussion has been specifically on the Dylan narrative and its attacks and defenses, but I don’t recall having read a very good condemnation of the entirety of Allen’s actions, including those with Soon-Yi, before, until this one.

    One reason may be that Soon-Yi is an adult woman who in the aftermath has chosen to make a life and a family for herself with Allen, and it is difficult to thread a thorough accounting of her manipulation and victimization (which she, of course, would personally dispute and deny), without condescending to her.

    – I am puzzled over whether Kroft did a terrible job interviewing Allen, or he gave him entirely enough rope with which Allen indeed hanged himself and society did a somehow insufficient job of noticing, “scandal” notwithstanding.

  21. Poor Soon-Yi, just a maladjusted child with no free will whose own testimony is to be utterly disregarded, to be considered the result of brainwashing whereas Dylan’s testimony is automatically to be deemed to be true.

    Maybe both are lying or both are telling the truth, as they remember and perceive it, but surely it is intellectually dishonest to treat one woman as a free agent and the other as a puppet … whichever label one pins on either woman.

  22. Thank you for some much needed recalibration of things people resist paying attention to, or have forgotten we know. I am curious about how rubbish Allen’s psychoanalysts appear to have been at their job. This is the achievement of decades of therapy?

  23. fantastic.
    THIS is how to write. or – perhaps i should say – THIS is how to argue.
    no one knows how to anymore – thanks so much for this painful, beautiful article. please don’t pay too much attention to the naysayers. you’re very much telling an important truth. stay true to your essential wisdom. i’m proud of you. and hell yeah you’re studying milton! HIGH FIVE

  24. I am a the mother of an internationally adopted child and a child/educational psychologist. I cannot tell you how bothered I have been at the dismissive stance taken by so many about Soon Yi. I really appreciate that she was taken into consideration in your analysis.
    I would like to add a couple of thoughts…
    Soon Yi was adopted at 7 or so. In the international adoption community, families usually deduct the age at which the child was adopted from their chronological age to gain a better understanding of where they are really at developmentally. So, Soon Yi was about 12 years old developmentally when she began “dating” WA. I am sick to death of people hiding behind the fact that technically, she was an adult. She was a 12 year-old in a 19 year-old body.
    Kids who are adoptees often have all kinds of issues surrounding sexuality due to the nature of their origins: unwanted pregnancies, teen parents, incest, rape, etc. It is not uncommon for adoptees to act out sexually. Kids (adopted or not) who have been exposed to developmentally inappropriate sexual behaviors tend to act out sexually as well. Soon Yi got the best of both worlds– it was not only likely that she would have acted out in this way, but I would say it was predictable. And there was WA, ready to prey on her vulnerabilities. What did Soon Yi learn about women and men prior to her adoption? For that matter, what did she learn about women and men after she was adopted? I am thinking it was something akin to: women cannot be trusted and men ultimately deliver necessities if you put out.
    The last thing I would like to add to this is that Soon Yi likely has Radical Attachment Disorder. It occurs in international adoptees with far greater frequency than in the general population. People with that disorder cannot bond with anyone in any meaningful way, even if they give an outward appearance of doing so. Soon Yi’s bio mother was a prostitute who abandoned her. I don’t think it is a stretch to say that she and her bio mom probably didn’t have a solid attachment. If a child has a solid attachment early on, they can transfer it to someone else later. Soon Yi clearly didn’t have normal family boundaries, likely because she wasn’t really attached to them. She dumped her mother, her MOTHER! (could you ever do that in a million years?) for her mother’s boyfriend! Really think about that, Dear Reader– could YOU ever do that? No way!! As sad as I am for Dylan, she at least knew she could go to her mother for support. Soon Yi didn’t even know enough not to sleep with her mother’s middle-aged boyfriend, let alone turn to her mother for help. That is just beyond heartbreaking. Guts me completely.
    I just cannot think of any possible way in which the relationship between WA and Soon Yi could be equal in any way. I think of the two daughters they adopted and I want to curl into the fetal.

    1. I agree with you 110%. Soon-Yi was also very shy and introverted – perfect child for WA to prey upon. Soon-Yi is an adult who molested into her role.

      And for someone to come into a home full of children and not connect with any of them except one or two (even if those are HIS KIDS) is insane. I connect with my kid’s friends; empathize with them; and am a part of the village. Not just because I’m human – but because I care about the people my children care about. WA never did this.

      If he really did fall in love with this person he would have protected his children. He would have waited until his children were older, not left pornographic photographs to be found by Mia (could have easily been his kids); and let Soon-Yi become her own adult. But he didn’t want that – he wanted Soon-Yi to be his kind of adult – a girl forever trapped.

    2. Athough I agree with some of the points you are making, I’m willing to bet that your focus is on educational psychology, rather than child psychopathology, given that you refer to RAD as “Radical Attachment Disorder.” Someone with genuine expertise in this would not make such a mistake.

      1. Oh geez. Spell check/ sleep deprivation/ missing bifocals got me. REACTIVE Attachment Disorder. Sorry! Thank you, Gemma, for pointing that out. I am not an expert in RAD– I didn’t claim to be. However, I have studied it extensively and have extensive personal and professional experience with many who have it.

  25. The problem with everyone throwing their two cents into the ring is this: The ONLY person who knows what happened or didn’t happen is Woody Allen. Dylan’s age at the time CERTAINLY allows for a false memory to seem as reality, and there are very good arguments to be made supporting both sides. WE DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED, AND PROBABLY NEVER WILL. Anyone who isn’t personally connected to this matter trying to convince you otherwise is simply proliferating GOSSIP. When you try to connect the dots that you see, knowing that there are many, many you don’t see… you couldn’t possibly end up with a picture of the truth.

    1. I have to point out that this author did an amazing job of using court information and Mr. Allen’s own words to craft this piece. No of course we don’t know for sure what went on but article’s of this standard doesn’t detract from truth.

    2. I can’t believe I’m bothering to reply to this, but Dylan’s age certainly does not allow for a false memory to seem as reality. She was 7, not 2. Also, she recounted what happened immediately, so I’m not even clear on how people think false memory is supposed to apply here. Allen’s visit happened on August 4. Dylan recounted her story on August 5. Mia didn’t even report the case to the police–Dylan’s doctors did. I’m not sure people realize the documented chronology. For Mia to have brainwashed Dylan, she would have had to have done it over the course of a few days at most and in the face of Dylan being questioned by Dylan’s therapist (who was also Woody Allen’s) and pediatrician. Mia was one day away from signing a custody agreement with Woody, so the timing is particularly strange.

      Also, even in that version, Mia Farrow would be another person who would know what happened. If she truly brainwashed Dylan into falsely believing her father molested her, Mia would know, of course, that she had done so. There is no neutral position here really… either you believe Woody Allen did something horrible to Dylan or you believe Mia Farrow did. The point of the above article is that we have a lot of documented evidence that Woody Allen lies about very serious things (such as an affair with his partner’s daughter) when it benefits him. No similar evidence has been provided to support the idea that Mia lies or would do anything as abusive as convince Dylan she’d been sexually abused.

    3. This makes me so angry.”The ONLY person who knows what happened or didn’t happen is Woody Allen.” WRONG! So, so very wrong. A family relative (my favorite uncle) molested me when I was 6 and 7 years old and those memories are seared into my brain and will haunt me for the rest of my life–not only due to the pain it caused me at the time and afterwards, but also when the truth later came out and it damaged my family and changed relationships I had within my family. This is why sexual abuse is so insidious. I was so ashamed I didn’t tell anyone about what happened until my twenties. I am now in my thirties and have been in therapy for 10 years–including individual therapy, group therapy, in-patient, and out-patient therapy–to deal with the long-term consequences of untreated childhood trauma and sexual abuse, untreated childhood depression and PTSD, and pervasive, crippling anxiety. I have fought for my life. I continue to fight for my life on a daily basis. It has been a fucked up, hellish, nightmare of a journey because childhood sexual abuse does a great deal of harm, to put it mildly. I cannot stress how important it is to take any account of sexual abuse very, very seriously.

  26. The most intelligent and persuasive analysis of this very sad and heartbreaking saga that I have read. Really brilliant writing that deserves a wide audience.

  27. I completely agree with 48mom’s comments above. Such a careful, insightful analysis. I confess to being riveted this train-wreck of a story and this discussion is the best I’ve read yet. I will be looking for more essays and articles by this author.

  28. This is the most cogent, convincing thing I’ve read about that whole mess. And I’ve read waaaay too much. Thank you for writing it.

  29. Thank you Lili for writing this astounding analysis.
    I have a tendency, against my best efforts to avoid this, to not see Soon Yi as the complete victim she’s portrayed to be. While nobody knows precisely how old she was, I can’t help but have an instinct to feel that she should have felt some loyalty to her mother, a woman who saved her life by picking her up from a gutter in which she would have undoubtedly remained to this day if not for Mia. I can’t help but think that no matter how strong the negging and seduction, her conscience should have kicked in at some point. If she was in fact 19 or 20, she surely knew she was screwing her mother’s soul mate and lying about it. She seems to have completely thrown her entire family under the bus, this is not to be underestimated in Dylan’s case (for whom this alliance with Woody must be more devastating than for any of the other family members). Absolutely without a doubt this affair was predominantly his doing but I cannot get rid of a sense that the betrayal and ensuing devastation is at least in part her responsibility. Am I wrong?

  30. I really applaud the writer for their examination of Allen’s statements and behavior. The comments from Miriam and Jessica bring good new observations to examine in this disturbing case of possible sexual abuse as well. I really haven’t seen any good reasoning that would back up the theory that Farrow brainwashed her 7 year old daughter into this accusation of abuse, and elsewhere I have read that the ability to implant false memories in children that age is almost non-existent.

    Allen’s adherents definitely have a lot of on anger, vituperation, and persistence on their side. In posts around the internet Dylan attracts a lot of comments from fellow victims of abuse who state their support and move on, while many of Allen’s defenders go on and on and on – like they were paid by the post and had nothing else to do. I was beginning to think this is how publicists work these days, but then again, that is how fandom, and politics, works these days as well.

  31. When this saga re-arose, my “gut feel” was very pro-Woody. Coloring this was the gossip that Ronan Farrow may be Frank Sinatra’s son and not hers and Woody’s, and meanwhile Woody had been paying child support, etc…
    Mia had triggered something in me and so I initially perceived her as self-serving and narcissistic. I had known firsthand a similar woman who selfishly ruined her family (her own narcissism trumping the needs of all others).
    The more I’ve read (and I’ve read the judge’s ruling and blogs such as this one) the more I am absolutely clear on how wrong Woody is in all aspects of this (morally, ethically, and legally).
    Mia may be no saint, but Woody’s actions–and his defenses of same– are hollow and border on sociopathic. It is not arguable (by sane human beings) as to who has done the real damage here. It speaks more to the truer nature of Woody Allen, and the dangers of a truly neurotic person with “power.”

    1. As an adult child of abusive narcissistic parents, I recognize many common traits in both Farrow and Allen. These children were very unlucky. Farrow’s treatment and gaslighting (http://jezebel.com/all-mias-children-the-tangled-branches-of-the-farrow-1516793360) of Soon Yi is also horrifying to witness. There is almost no sympathy for Soon Yi at all from Farrow. Farrow has blamed her for the affair (despite the obvious predatory position Allen was in), called her borderline retarded (Soon Yi has a degree from an Ivy League school), then called her a manipulative sociopath. Dylan couldn’t ask for a worst defender and it’s not surprising her brother Moses is no longer in contact with Farrow.

      It’s astounding that Allen was able to adopt children. The adoption industry is in serious need of reform. It’s interesting that Korean adoptees have been some of the foremost voices in reforming international adoption and many of them have sought to end it altogether.

      1. That Jezebel entry was a hit piece

        For example, the guy who testified Lark was treated like a scullery maid?

        That was Allen’s assistant

        The babysitter that “corroborated” Moses claims of a violent Mia by claiming she witnessed Mia slap Moses over a dog leash?

        She was paid to testify by Allen, who also paid her waged. She never claimed she witnessed the even, but that someone else saw it and told her.

        She would go on to completely recant her testimony.

        Mia also never threw out Soony yi, or cut up her clothes. Total lies. Read the vanity piece with the 32 page custody decision

        http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2014/02/woody-allen-sex-abuse-10-facts

        I hope the Farrow clarify them and seek legal recourse

  32. This is an excellently written and researched piece and a damning indictment of Allen’s contradictions. The only criticism I can find is that – by virtually ignoring some of the more problematic issues on the Mia Farrow side (Moses’ statement; Mia’s “molester” note, Dr. Coates warnings for Allen’s safety at Frog Hollow) – her piece comes across like the flip side of Robert Weide’s equally one-sided piece.

    Specifically, when she states “Concerning the allegations that Mia broke a chair and sent a valentine with a knife in it, I don’t know whether they’re true…” strains her credibility. In other parts of the piece, she references Wilk’s decision (which specifically mentions the Valentine – even Farrow doesn’t deny it), and the 60 Minutes interview w/Allen in which he SHOWS it. She’s obviously done her research, so why pretend to ignore the Valentine? For her to claim that she doesn’t know whether its existence is true seems as disingenous as some of Allen’s statements.

    Bet I can get both sides to jump all over me for that comment. ;-)

    1. I don’t have the energy or inclination to jump on you, but it’s a common deflection technique to ignore giant stomping screaming elephants in the room while focusing on a peanut, which I believe you’re doing here. A meticulous and devastatingly reasoned deconstruction based ONLY on public record, and you find the author’s omission of the valentine to be on a par with the deliberate deceptions of Woody Allen?

      Not logical. Not proportional, either. I would categorize it as a mistake. After combing through SCRIBD documents all day, one’s eyes begin to cross. It’s a bit surprising the author missed it, maybe, but her argument still stands.

      I remember seeing the valentine in the Daily News at the time, and saying, “WOW!” and discussing it with my male friend. We agreed that after finding one’s teen daughter’s nether parts photographed by one’s companion of a dozen years, a stabby valentine was entirely a gimme, and that Mia was very restrained to have limited herself to artwork.

      1. Believe me, I “understand” the Valentine and DON’T think it’s an inappropriate reaction given the circumstances Mia found herself in. I only brought it up because I thought it was a very strange statement by the author to cast doubt upon its existence. That 60 Minutes interview is only, what, about 12 minutes long? Clearly the author of this piece saw it, as she quoted it. Ditto the reference to it in the decision by Judge Wilk.

        Please don’t call me an “Allen apologist” – I just hate to see it when these various opinion pieces have – inevitably, it seems – at least one, “are you kidding?” moment in them. Some of the more damning articles I’ve read about this situation have earned obvious demerits by making reference to Farrow & Allen’s “marriage” or some other such egregious error. This article was by far the most eloquent and well-researched piece from “Mia/Dylan’s” side that I’ve seen. But by not addressing ANY of the opposing claims, it’s in its own way like the flip side of Robert Weide’s biased article, which is a shame.

        I cited the Valentine as the most concrete example, but I referred to other omissions. Multiple peanuts; not just one. ;-)
        When all the author can do is characterize Moses’ statement as “odd”, I feel that’s a shortcoming. Similarly, when she can quote Dr. Coates about Allen’s “inappropriately intense” relationship with Dylan, but not mention that the same Dr. Coates felt Frog Hollow was a place “where protection was needed” for ALLEN, that’s “odd”, too. It essentially backs up his story from the 60 Minutes interview where he claimed Mia had threatened him. Coates also testified about being “puzzled” by Mia’s demeanour immediately following the Aug 4 incident, just four days after begging her to “find a way to stop him”.

        To not address any of those other “peanuts” is unfortunate, IMO. The only (minor) flaws in an exceptional piece.

  33. Excellent article. Both well-written insofar as style goes (I appreciate the sundry wink-like asides throughout), and outstanding in terms of the research you’ve gathered to support your stance on the matter. As has been pointed out above, you do a great job of putting together Allen’s own words to reveal his hypocrisy and the double-standards that he maintains. (Which, in and of itself, hints at some psychological issues… that he could say so many conflicting things on record and not think that he’d get caught onto both further illustrates his pompously narcissistic, I-can-do-no-wrong attitude, as well as the low esteem in which he holds others’ wits.)

  34. This article is exasperating. As is all commentary which assumes the guilt of either party in this horrible ordeal. This so-called analysis is desperate blame-finding at best, based on nothing more than the authors’ own preconceived ideas and assumptions. No one will ever know the truth, and yet everyone with an opinion believes he/she has the facts to back it up. You have no facts, only shards of information that add up to nothing. Your arrogance is sickening, and ultimately serves no purpose. Your opinion will not change what has happened, and is only put forth to rid yourself of the disquieting unknowability of things. You’re convinced that WA is a molester. Good for you! The only person vindicated in this instance is you, and whatever purposeless cause you represent.

    1. You haven’t read the article, it’s very clear. Far from lack of evidence, the author uses only Woody Allen’s publicly available words, from interviews and court documents, finds the internal inconsistencies, and holds up for inspection statements of his that are unavoidably damning.

      You present us only with the tired apologists’ favorite, “No one will ever know the truth” even as you demonstrate that you cannot for a moment suspend your own preconceived notion long enough to admit the possibility that the truth is not what you would like it to be: that Dylan Farrow knows the truth, and that it is that Woody Allen molested her.

      The point to the article, though, I believe, is not that the author is insisting what Dylan says is the absolute truth, but that it is time to look at what we CAN know: Woody Allen’s lies. Here they are, on a platter. Sorry they’re so unappetizing.

      1. I would like to know who you are referring to when you use the word “us”? The people who recognize the truth? And please tell me, where in my statement did I lay claim to the truth? Personally, I would not not like for either scenario (she was molested/she was convinced she was molested) to be true. They are equally horrible, in my mind. To say that I would prefer it if a little girl had been molested is frankly insulting. And that’s exactly the problem with your ilk. You think anyone not taking a stance, or who says that the truth will never be known, is on the side of the alleged perpetrator. The only thing I can say to you is that I hope you are never at the mercy of a lynch mob — an angry horde who decides to take matters of justice into their own hands. Shame on all of you! And shame on you for treating this article as if it’s a purely objective, formal analysis. The author clearly begins with the intent to prove that WA is a terrible father and molester, and dwells on every word, omission and ellipses to prove her point. It’s absurd, and even somewhat pathological.

  35. Reblogged this on entropistanon and commented:
    An analysis on the “brainwashing” defense Woody Allen has put forward concerning the allegations Dylan Farrow has brought against him again. I’m in full agreement that there’s plenty of evidence to suggest he did a fair amount of brainwashing and manipulation himself.

  36. First, “us” merely refers to the readers of this thread, all of us, no matter what our beliefs. It’s a simple pronoun, not a compliment or a slam.

    Second, you construct a number of strawmen, such as suggesting that I said you would prefer it if a little girl had been molested. No, I said that you are incapable of suspending your preconceived notion that “nobody knows the truth”, to consider that perhaps Dylan does know the truth.

    The next logical step for me ought to be expressing my outrage that you would suggest that I would suggest that you prefer a little girl to have been etc. etc. etc., but I don’t think I could match you in an outrage-off. Here is an example of your claiming the truth, while protesting, too much, that it is unknowable:

    ” desperate blame-finding at best, based on nothing more than the authors’ own preconceived ideas and assumptions.”

    That characterization is a marvel of projection.

    Yes, the author assumes that a man who says, ” These people are a collection of kids, they are not blood sisters or anything.” and ” he “was not a father to [Mia’s] adopted kids in any sense of the word.” He visited the house daily, he says, but “the last thing I was interested in was the whole parcel of Mia’s children, ” is a narcissist.

    Anybody who can draw anything from those quotes but a similar conclusion is surely blinkered by his/her own need to cling to a tattered preconception labelled “neutrality” in the face of all reason or logic.

    The rush to blame Mia Farrow as a manipulator of her quite intelligent, and consistent, 28 year old daughter, without a shred of evidence, is just the sort of lynch-mob mentality you claim to deplore. It’s a pack mentality, a sadly always simmering resentment in our culture against those who interfere with our (I’m speaking generally again, FYI!) comfortable beliefs, particularly, though not exclusively, against women.

    Mia Farrow gets no presumption of innocence, though there is no evidence that she manipulated her child except, and this is enough in the eyes of Allen apologists (or, to use your word, their”ilk”) that, child and woman, Dylan Farrow keeps repeating words they don’t want to hear. Therefore, she had to be manipulated by her mother.

    Before you accuse someone else of a mob mentality, it would behoove you to put down the torch and pike yourself.

    1. @missuspolly — First of all: outrage? Missus, you can paint the tone of my reply in any way you see fit. You can argue the infinite details of this “analysis” all you want, or how ineffectively I have presented my side (as if I had one). You are intent on pulling me into an argument that I have no intention of joining. Is WA a narcissist? Of course he is! As if there were any reason at all to contest that. But obviously there is: to support your argument that he molested Dylan. I’m perfectly capable of theorizing that WA molested his daughter. You, on the other hand, are incapable of recognizing that such an act is futile. And as for “mob mentality” — I’m not the one writing a blog about WA. I have no need of a platform, because I have no stake in the matter. You can mull this issue over to your heart’s content. You can never see another WA movie for the rest of your life. You can defend Dylan and her claims until the cows come home. It will not change the IRREMEDIABLE fact that we will never know the truth, and that this exercise is pointless. Go argue your case with a judge. Oh wait… you can’t.

      1. Of course you’ve picked a side: while claiming to be above the fray, you attacked the writer of this post for desperate blame-finding, citing no example of overreach — but details like showing a logical connection are beneath you. In fact, you repudiate details entirely, because shame shame, people who aren’t empaneled on a jury have no right to examine the public statements of a public figure, uncontested patterns of behavior, and draw their own conclusions. YOU are much more FAIR than that.

        Are you so fair-minded as to scold the Woody Allen loyalists who hurl ugly, evidence-free accusations at Mia Farrow? Or would that be “picking a side,” whereas appearing repeatedly on this thread in this somewhat removed forum shows you have no stake in the matter? This isn’t exactly a mainstream venue. Nobody arrives here because she was searching LOLcats and hit this blog by accident in the sidebar.

        Your apparent insistence that without a finding in a court of law, private citizens should be ashamed for discussing a case and forming their own opinions is ridiculous. To call any attempt to put together a logical theory of what happened based only on knowns such as sworn testimony “futile,” is arrogance itself.

        Child molesters commonly attack HUNDREDS of times before they are caught. How do we know this? From research studies done in prisons, from diaries they leave.

        http://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman/article_cdo/aid/1707466/jewish/Things-You-Need-to-Know-About-Child-Molesters.htm

        Most children do not come forward immediately, and when they do, they are frequently subjected to exactly the sort of attack that Woody Allen’s lawyers perpetrated: they’re fantasizing, they were put up to it, they’re crazy.

        Imagine an ordinary, obscure adult, who sees the man who molested her given a civics award. It’s beyond the statute of limitations, she can’t go to the police now. By your reading, if she publishes a letter in the paper claiming he molested her, anybody who knows he slept with his girlfriend’s teenaged daughter, should NOT and draw any kind of conclusion from obviously conflicting statements he makes, because it would be futile.

        No, we are not in a court of law. But we (that’s the general “we,” which includes “you”) do not have to be held to the standard of an empaneled jury. We do not have to discard common sense at the instruction of a judge who tells us to ignore evidence s/he rules inadmissable, particularly when that judge is a commenter on a blog she finds beneath her.

  37. I am a man and an admirer of Woody Allen’s movies, which ironically I felt were the few that had really interesting parts for women (a view echoed by many notable actresses). But your well-written article really hit home with me. Whatever may have happened between him and Dylan, it is clear that his behavior was self-centered in the extreme and that he had no sympathy at all for the other children in Mia’s family. You make a great point that he didn’t just meet Soon Yi at a party when she was an adult – he was dating her mother since she 9 or so. As you have pointed out so well, if he wasn’t a father figure to her as he and his supporters claim, that shows a level of callous indifference to a young adopted child of his girl friend, vulnerable because her adoptive parents had split up. I can relate to this because I brought up a step-daughter from the age of 5, and she is very fond of her real father but I can tell you I get father’s day cards every year even though I never legally adopted her (she’s now 42). So regardless of the issues of the Dylan situation, even if as he claims this is because Mia was a vengeful woman, he shares the blame for that by his sense of entitlement that made him have a reckless disregard for the consequences for all of the children in that family and the humiliation it must have inflicted on Mia.

    It also leads me to ask whether disturbed individuals have a special insight into human weaknesses and characters that allow them to make brilliant movies – look at Hitchcock, Polanski, and – yes – Woody Allen. But it is surprising to me that someone with so little empathy can make such good movies.

    1. @ VR: Yes, it surprises me too! I think you’re onto something concerning their ability to dissect humanity and put it onscreen.

      I don’t want the inevitable storm of fury that will descend if I bring up the word “pscychopath,” but whelp, there it is. Most psychopaths don’t become murderers. But they do have an uncanny ability to deconstruct human emotion without feeling it, except in the form of self-regard and entitlement. That almost might be called a skillset in Hollywood.

  38. The comments you’ve received that attempted to negate your arguments were obviously left by people who have never had any experience with abuse and desperately want Mr. Allen to be innocent because they like his movies. How disgustingly irresponsible. Thank you for writing this.

  39. Common sense people. Common sense. “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.”

  40. From my earliest recollections I experienced the betrayal of an adult in our neighborhood that my family trusted.
    One afternoon I casually told my mom about it and it created an explosive atmosphere of instant alliances. People that had been so kind me suddenly slammed doors in my face calling me a liar among other things. It was 1966. I was 4 years old.
    So this second wave of victimization is something that I have experienced firsthand, My wife has had a remarkably similar journey. It’s more common than most people realize. It continues because we consistently hush any supportive, intelligent, or healing dialogue. We don’t break the chain.
    When I read Dylan’s accounts I instantly felt that her experience was a reality. Some might argue that I am projecting. There are some significant markers in her retelling of those events that only a victim understands.
    The dynamics of sexual molestation within the family are different. These are contracts of silence. A common reaction Is to protect the perpetrator, or even try to qualify the degree of inappropriate activity.
    I still love most of Woody Allen’s movies! Many years ago – standup comedy prepared me to adore someone’s performance, but not necessarily like them as a person.
    I have read comments in this thread that are simply crazy making.
    If people can fly off the handle with an opinion then I can share my specific experiences. I have been in this war and fought these battles. I am qualified to speak about it. It may not have been the best way to begin my childhood, but it is made me extremely sensitive to other people’s feelings, and It has made me a passionate advocate to help others go from victim to victorious.
    Final thought – This is not a private family matter. This is a destructive and unfortunately prevalent problem.
    Great book for anyone struggling with this-
    Repair
    by Marjorie McKinnon

  41. Isn’t it interesting that the villagers with the burning torches never went out of style? That humans are all willing to attack another person based on nothing? That we’d rather think the very worst of someone just because we don’t happen to like them, or think the way they’ve conducted their lives (outside of molestation accusations) doesn’t fit in with how we declare it should. People get falsely accused of molestation an unbelievable amount of time. There are guys sitting in prison for decades because someone accused them out of spite. Remember when all of those kids accused their daycare providers of molesting them, and it turned out to be implanted lies? Have you watched the “Capturing the Friedmans” and watched that casual lying shithead talk about how “molested” he was, sitting there in his jeans shorts, lying his scummy ass off.
    I am more wiling to believe that Mia Farrow’s hatred for her ex-whatever has influenced her children’s attitudes. You can talk your kids into believing anything. If you want to blame anyone for molesting kids in Mia’s family, how about blaming her brother who is currently in jail for screwing a couple of kids. What are the chances she doesn’t want to admit that maybe he’s the actual molester, and not this man she’s spent so much time hating.
    And before some miserable “bitch” declares I’m an apologist for molesters, I was molested. I have no delusions about people who are actually guilty, and people “we” all just hope are.

  42. Stacey, I’m sorry you were subjected to that horrible experience. I was, too — by my father’s friend, in our own house which was full of people, in a room which didn’t even have a DOOR, for pete’s sake: it was steps away from the kitchen, where I could hear my father’s voice.

    The whole incident was over in 45 seconds. I didn’t tell for years, because I was ashamed, and felt it was somehow my fault. And this man’s paintings are still on the wall in my parents’ house.

    So, am I projecting when I say I believe Dylan Farrow? No, I don’t think so, but I wanted people to know that the incident she described was VERY SIMILAR to what I experienced:

    It didn’t make sense! A house full of people! When could he have found the time! Why weren’t there injuries when she was examined!
    I had no injuries, except that I developed an eating disorder and didn’t date until my late twenties. I was already plenty anxious, so I don’t know whether that and the depression can be ascribed to 45 seconds of being fumbled at by an Expressionist painter about whom my mother said when I finally told her, “well, honey…..artists….”

    Your statement that you are “more willing to to believe” that Mia Farrow is the bad guy here is telling, to me. All the Allen defenders worried about crowds and torches, and yet they don’t notice how moblike and torchlit they are in their eagerness to slam Mia Farrow ( let’s drag in the molester brother, despite the fact that he lived six states away and only molested boys!), who does not get the same benefit of the doubt as Woody Allen.

    The McMartin Preschool case, and all the hysterical false-accusation cases, involved children much younger than 7. Most of them were 3 or under, and described wild, impossible scenarios, with deviltry and murder and blood and flying.

    Dylan’s description was of an entirely possible, horribly common form of digital intrusion, the kind of mundane insult that is all too easy to perform quickly, furtively. Not the stuff of a child’s fantasy. It’s far too dull not to have a good chance of being real. And since there is a good chance it may be real, perhaps you should go back and actually read the article without the rancor which seems to have kept you from being able to comprehend it.

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